As Inside Croydon reported before the Bank Holiday weekend, Croydon Council has abandoned its Quietway scheme along Norbury Avenue without completing the intended trial period, and all done with seemingly indecent haste, if the state of the signage left behind is anything to go by (see picture right).
Norbury Avenue has long been notorious as a rat run for motorists between Thornton Heath and Norbury.
In an effort to deal with this, working with the Mayor of London’s office and the sustainability group Sustrans, the council closed the road was closed at the end of June. The trial period was to have run for three months, so that traffic could be monitored for at least a couple of weeks in September when the school run is in full-flow.
The route along Norbury Avenue was supposed to be a vital link in a chain of Quietways, providing a cycle route from south London all the way to Waterloo. That entire scheme appears fatally compromised now that Croydon has abandoned its trial prematurely.
But at least this has afforded Labour councillor Pat Ryan the opportunity to display his grasp – or lack of it – of how democracy works.
Ryan, who is not a councillor for the affected wards of Norbury or Thornton Heath, stuck his oar in once the closures had been implemented (shame he had not bothered to brief himself on the proposals during the planning phase), and last week he proclaimed, “This is a healthy democratic exercise. Subject to negotiation, the road closure will go.”
Veteran councillor Ryan was recently sacked as the chief whip of the Labour group at the Town Hall. With proclamations such as that, it’s easy to see why. Let’s hope Councillor Ryan didn’t release his statement through the Labour group’s press officer (if it has one).
But then, this is Croydon, the borough which spends tens of thousands of pounds on creating a “cycle hub” after spending millions over the previous four years in removing or reducing the cycle routes that lead to it.
It’s not known as Disconnected Croydon for nothing.
Local cycling groups have launched an online petition addressed to Croydon Council leader Tony Newman to try to salvage the trial, in which they claim that the road, without the calming restrictions, is unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians.
“Many local residents agree that there is a big problem with traffic cutting through this neighbourhood, dividing it with a consistent flow of vehicles and creating fear of high speeds and lack of respect from drivers.“
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